Thursday, 20 December 2012

Life is a tub of raspberries...... and cherries; Adelaide hills, Australia


© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Mr Collins comes in from the field with some raspberries for us.

Cherries and raspberries in Australia are at their best in December and so what better way to enjoy them than FRESH, straight off the bush or tree.

We are lucky in South Australia to have such wonderful produce so close to the actual city of Adelaide. One has only to travel 30 to 45 minutes to be in the heart of the apple, cherry and raspberry districts.

The price of rasbberries in Australia can make people think twice about making their own jam with this delicious fruit. However, if you visit Les and Audrey Collins, Orchadists in Summertown in the Adelaide hills, you can purchase raspberries that have been put away for this express purpose, and are cheaper. The sole reason that they are tagged as 'jam' raspberries is that they are less elegant looking (a little more squished) but equally delicious.  Being a lover of raspberry jam this was an exciting find!

They also have the 'perfect' looking raspberries and silver berries for your plate.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Sam busy picking silver berries and raspberries

You don't PYO at the Collins' orchard, Sam from Wales is doing a brilliant job of that.  

Les & Audrey Collins
Collins Road
Ph 8390 3240
(also grow apples, cherries & pears).


© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

For PYO cherries, head to Stella Creek, only another 20 minutes or so on from Summertown and 30 minutes from Adelaide.

Rows and rows of magnificent cherry trees greet you on your arrival. Head to the shed, grab your bucket (and for the busy Christmas period a hot sausage in bread at the sausage sizzle stand), before heading out to the orchard.

Not only do you get to go home with gorgeous fresh cherries but you get them at a much lesser cost than you would find at either the green grocers or the market. 

Make cherry jam, pickle them and serve with duck, freeze them for the colder months, or munch on them fresh.

Quick easy dessert for any time of the year.....

For a quick easy dessert at any time of the year place cherries (leave the pips in) on a tray and freeze. When completely frozen, take them out and cryovac and place back in the freezer.  They will make their very own sweet and delicious juice. Serve them with icecream.

178 Plummers Road
Forest Range
Ph: 08 8389 8572

Wishing you all a very happy and safe Christmas.

Millie x

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A workshop with Carla Coulson and French pastries at Mulots

Two recent events got me thinking about how much photography has enriched my life.

Through this passion of mine I have met people I would not ordinarily have met, i have crossed thresholds that in the past I may not have thought of walking through, and it has given me windows of opportunity that years ago I would never have imagined coming my way. 

Here are two recent events that have been so enriching and inspiring.

A workshop; Carla Coulson's'Get Published' 

Last weekend I participated in Carla Coulson's 'Get Published Workshop' in Sydney.  It was an extraordinary day in many ways. 

Carla, is an Australian Paris based photographer, whose knowledge of the photographic and publishing world is immense, as is her generosity in imparting her 'know how'. We were spellbound. The depth of information that we gained from Carla herself, Sharon Misko, Creative Director  of Inside Out, and Bryce Corbett, author and deputy Editor of The Australian Woman's Weekly magazine was mind blowing. We truly were 30 very fortunate photographers, getting an in depth inside look into the world of publishing, as well as gaining an understanding of how we can go about breaking into it, and succeeding in it as writers and photographers. 

It was not only the knowledge and information that we gained that made the day so extraordinary.  There was a spirit of friendship and support that filled the room, and there is no one more supportive of young and or new photographers than Carla; a heartfelt and personal thank you from me to Carla.

As well as being a huge learning experience the workshop also presented an opportunity for 30 of us budding 'to be published' writers / photographers to meet, chat, and, hopefully in the future support and encourage each other in reaching our goals and realising our dreams.  Post workshop; Carla has even gone a step further and set up our own 'Get Published Workshop' facebook page to facilitate our networking, and I look forward to staying in touch with all the wonderful people I met that day as well as the others I did not have the opportunity to meet personally. 

Here's to many more Carla Couson workshops.

A Pastry Kitchen, Mulots

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
André working the pastry for the croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raison.

Another fantastic and recent meeting also came about because of my love for taking photographs and eating! 

When I am in Australia I always miss France's divine pastries. So I headed to the gorgeous authentic French patisserie Mulots in Hyde Park, Adelaide to ask the French owners André and Annette Guerinet if I could possibly spend some time with them in their kitchen.  I wanted to take photographs and get an idea of how their to die for creations are made.

They could not have been more welcoming, and happily allowed me to join them the very next morning.  I was spellbound once again.  The organisation just like the workshop, was a mixture of precision, passion and incredible expertise. 

I was like a child in a lolly shop. I spent four wonderful hours watching, shooting, and chatting and it felt like 2 minutes.


© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Pain au Chocolat

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Pain au Raison

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Left, checking their weight before flattening with the palm of the hand. Right, Gaby the new apprentice enjoying her first week in the kitchen at Mulots, lucky girl.!

Apricot Tart

 Copyright Millie Brown 20012

André's two rolling pins, (both made in France from a special type of hardwood).  The one on the left is 28 years old and came all the way from France with him all those years ago. You can even feel the groove where his hand rests. The one on the right is clearly younger and hasn't quite done the same mileage as the older one!

...lemon & raspberry tarts

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

.....delicious and ready to eat!

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Mulots is a family favourite of ours, fortunately for us it is just around the corner, and there is no where else we would contemplate ordering our croissants (all 22 of them for Christmas morning).

And when it comes to a Quiche, I can assure you it would be very difficult to find better anywhere in the world.

André and Annette are masters at their craft. To watch them at work is a pleasure, and I thank them both for allowing me into their very delicious world for a morning. 

I'm happy also to report that I am not the only person lucky enough to be able to step foot in their kitchen; Mulots has half day courses available throughout the year for both the general public and professionals.  

For details and dates on the courses click here.

Ever grateful for my interesting and wonderful life.

Millie x
143a King William Road
Hyde Park
08 8272 6499

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Giveaway; Paris print

Photo of the Palais Royal, Paris
Image size 40 cm x 40cm with a 5cm white border on Matt photographic paper
(Print size 50cm x 50cm)

I love Christmas; I love that the family gets together for a relaxed, fun day. They come from the different corners of Australia, and sometimes the world, and that is what makes it the warm and special day that it is (that, and my mother's wonderful cooking and loving attention to detail). 

For me Christmas is all about taking the time to be with loved ones, whether they be family, friends, or both.

So to celebrate my love of the festive season I am giving away one of my photographic prints of Paris. 

All you have to do to be in the running is share the competition post on my Travel Notecards facebook page. The winner will be drawn on Thursday the 13th and will be announced on the Travel Notecards facebook page.

Good luck, and to all of my lovely blog readers thank you for popping in throughout the year and I wish you all a very happy, safe and fun filled Christmas.

Millie x

Monday, 3 December 2012

Carrick Hill, Adelaide, South Australia; welcomes Australian Artist Jeffrey Smart

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

If any of you are heading to Adelaide, South Australia any time soon (or even if you are an Adelaidian for that matter), now is a great time to visit the gorgeous English Manor style house known as Carrick Hill Estate.

This majestic former home of the Haywards was built after two of Adelaide's most prominent families came together in marriage, Ursula Barr Smith and Bill Hayward. It is situated only 10 minutes from the centre of the city and upon completion in 1939 became one of the Hayward's four homes.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Much of the oak panelling found throughout the house was purchased by the Haywards at a demolition sale of an English mansion in Staffordshire, England.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Ursula and Bill Hayward were prolific art collectors and lovers, and many of the artists whose work fills the house were their close friends...Artists such as Nora Heysen, Sir William Dobell, Donald Friend and Sir Russell Drysdale.

French and British art also grace the interior of Carrick Hill, as well as some of the finest 16th to 18th century oak furniture found anywhere in Australia, including a carved oak panel from France dating back to 1600.

© Copyright Millie Brown

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Now until February 24th is the perfect time to visit Carrick Hill as it is currently housing part of the Jeffrey Smart exhibition, 'Master of Stillness'.

South Australian born Jeffrey Smart has been described as 'Australia's iconic master of the urban vision' and one of Australia's most important modern day artists. 

The exhibition is showing concurrently across two venues in Adelaide, Carrick Hill and the  Samstag Museum at the University of South Australia. Together these venues feature over 60 of his works from 1940 to 2011. 

Carrick features his early work produced in Adelaide during the 1940's, while the Samstag is showing work Smart produced from 1951 onwards in Sydney and in Tuscany where he is now living and working.

Master of Stillness will also be making its way to Victoria, touring to the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Healesville, December 21 to March 31, 2013. 

Carrick Hill Estate
46 Carrick hill Drive

©Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Friday, 9 November 2012

La Butte aux Cailles; a village in Paris, France

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
La Butte aux Cailles, celebrated for it's street art
Check out Miss.tic's art here

My recent stroll through the streets of La Butte aux Cailles area on the left bank in the 13th arrondissement of Paris was not my first, however it was the first time I was lucky enough to have crossed paths with Jean-François.

La Butte aux Cailles, once a working class suburb of outer Paris is now known for its contemporary art scene as well as its rich history and hip atmosphere.

If its your first visit to La Butte aux Cailles head to see Jean -François in his store Paris-Mythique before you hit the cobbled streets of this quaint yet quirky area of Paris. (Directions below).

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Jean-François kindly stands out in the rain for a quick snapshot.

Not only is Jean-François a great source of information, but his shop Paris-Mythique stocks fabulous books, guides and maps to both Paris and La Butte aux Cailles, as well as books on the artistic community whose street art decorates this now inner 'village' of Paris.

Grab a map and ask Jean-Françpois to direct you to the best of this art as well as other points of interest. 

He can also fill you in on some of the historical stories of the area, including the first ever human piloted hot air balloon flight by François Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes, they landed the balloon right here in La Butte aux Cailles (not far from Place d'Italie) in 1783. 

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Some of the most interesting streets of this area are; rue de la Butte aux Cailles, which is the main 'strip' and where you will find most of the cafés, bars and restaurants, a great place to chill out for either a drink or a meal, rue des Cinq Diamonts, rue de l'Esperance, rue Daviel and Villa Daviel for its tiny village houses.

© Copyright Millie  Brown 2012
The eclectic 'Station Arret Faculatatif'


Station Arret Faculatatif
For the eclectic and incredible; you may even find that stuffed bat that you have been searching for all your life, or maybe just a tiny slipper for some wall decoration.
10 rue de l'Esperance

Les Abeilles

A world of honey; you could spend hours in here tasting every type of honey imaginable, from orange to the Tasmanian leather wood. Or maybe its a cough elixir or a mosquito repellent you are after. Fabulous!
21 rue de la Butte aux Cailles

La Clarière

An Atelier where the owner creates and sews beautiful old world nightgowns, childrens wear, and other gorgeous creations from vintage French linen. There are also brocante items such as divine french plates. A charming and wonderful find in this equally charming part of Paris.
8 rue de l'Esperance

Directions to Jean-François and 'Paris-Mythique' 
Get off the metro at Corsivart (line 6), head over the street and you will see stairs heading up the hill, climb them and you will reach rue des Cinq Diamants, Jean-François is at no 43.

If a guided tour of the area is more your style, then Jean François is also the person to organise it for you.

I think you'll love La Butte aux Cailles!

Millie xx 
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012

The village of Gorbio in Hipstamatic

Gorbio sits perched in the steep hills high above the mediterranean sea.

Charming, tranquil and narrow medieval streets, doorways dating from the 6th to 17th centuries, ruins of a 13th Century chateau......

 it's all in the details. 

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

How to get there;
No 7 bus from gorgeous Menton, or better still take the car (if you have one).

Millie xx
© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Beach and Picasso anyone? Culture and art, Cote d Azur, France

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

It's not all just sea, sun and beach fun on this gorgeous stretch of the mediterranean!

This area of France drew to it many great 20th Century artists; Picasso, Chagall, Renoir, Matisse.....amongst others.

They came, saw, stayed and made their art, and because of this the coast is dotted with many wonderful museums brimming with their masterpieces.

So throw off that beach gear, clean the sand from your toes, and soak yourself in some French Riviera culture.

164 avenue des Arènes de Cimiez

33 avenue des Baumettes

Avenue du Docteur Ménard

Chateau Grimaldi
Place Mariéjol

chemin des Collettes
Cagnes sur Mer

Millie xx

Related Reading
(available for sale on this site via Amazon)

Related Reading
(not available for sale on this site)

Life with Picasso
Françoise Gilot

Picasso my Grandfather
Marina Picasso

Picasso's War
Russell Martin

Essential Picasso
Laura Payne

Renoir's Table

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Charming 2 and 3 star hotels, Cote d Azur, France

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Gorgeous Plage du Buse, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Monte Carlo is in the far background.

When you walk into a 2 star hotel you know it is not going to knock your socks off in it's creature comforts, but basic hygiene and cleanliness should be a given, no matter what the star rating. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and I've come across some pretty horrid ones in my time!

So, while recently visiting some of the smaller 2 and 3 star hotels on the Cote d'Azur, I 'braced' myself for the usual disappointment,....however, I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised....each one of the hotels listed below was charming, spotlessly clean, well positioned and importantly the reception was warm and friendly. The staff were more than happy to show me their various rooms and facilities, and I was even invited to prolong my visit for a glass of champagne at one of them!

Recommended 2 & 3 Star Hotels on the Cote d'Azur

Beaulieu sur Mer

Villefranche sur Mer

St Jean Cap Ferrat

Roquebrune Village

(Note the above hotel in Roquebrune has a 50% discount for the 2012 / 2013 winter season). For a room with a divine view book room no. 1, not large but the view sure is)! 

Note; I have been advised by some of the hotel proprietors and the tourist office that the star classification for hotels in France is to change and hence the stars given to the above hotels were given prior to July 2012 and may be subject to change within the new classification regulations.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness...I'm all for that! (especially in hotels) :-)

Millie xx

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Friday, 26 October 2012

The raw natural beauty of the Parc du Mercantour; south of France

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

The kids are on holidays and you're on the French Riviera in August; its hot, and it's getting increasingly harder to find your 2 inches of beach'd do anything for some cool mountain air and a place to stretch your limbs.

Here's what you do; pack your overnighter (or your day bag) and head straight to the Nice Ville train station for the daily summer 9.24 am Train des Merveilles (Train of Marvels).

This 2 hour panoramic train trip will take you through the Paillon and Roya Brévéra valleys, through mountain tunnels and past stunning mountain top villages.  The huge panoramas land in your lap and as you move your way up to the freshness of the mountain air  the train's guide will enlighten you on the history and cultural aspects of this amazingly scenic, historic and un spoilt area of France. 

Recently friends and I did just this.  We descended the train in the village of Tende and were picked up by our gracious and fun loving Italian hosts from the chalet Chamois d'or situated in the tiny mountain hamlet of Castérino (very close to the Italian border and a half hour car ride from Tende).... and here is what we found.....

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

.......the parc national du Mercantour, with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery I have seen. An area of mountain streams, lakes and once sacred mountain peaks. Amongst all this beauty lies endless hiking paths and refuges for overnight stays, as well as thousands of animal and plant species (even wolves are heading back to the area). 

Our hosts at the Chamois d'or organised our 4 wheel drive excursion in the park (an hour's drive towards the Valley of Marvels (Vallée des Merveilles)), packed our copious picnic lunch and organised Eric our guide to walk us into this historic and magnificent valley.

Eric describes this landscape as his 'garden' having spent much of his life discovering every nook and cranny.  There is nothing he does not know about this natural, raw, mysterious beauty and it's treasures.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Eric, the quintessential mountain guide

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Eric explaining the various rock engravings dating back some 3000 years BC. There are close to 40,000 engravings highlighting the activities of the ancestors of this region (daggers and animals are just some of the subject matter)

To get close to the pre-historic rock engravings in the Valleé des Merveilles one must have a guide, and this can either be organised by your place of accommodation or at the tourist office in the medieval village of Tende.  There are also organised visits at various fixed times of the day during the high summer season (consult the tourist office in Tende for these times).

Note: You may visit the Vallée des Merveilles and the Vallée Fontanalbe without a guide as long as you agree not to divert from the designated paths to approach the engravings, you will find information panels outlining the history and details of the rock engravings along these paths.

The park also has many examples of France's oldest Larch trees. Eric stopped us at a 1000 year old speciman as we made our way up the mountain path.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
The delightful Carlo from Chamois d'or serving  lamb cooked on the spit of the open fire

Unsurprisingly (as this region of France was within Italian borders between 1861 and 1947) this area of France has a very Italian feel to it, and you will hear nearly as much Italian spoken as French.  

If you decide to stay at the Chomois d'or as we did (and I highly recommend that you do), there are plenty of walking trails from the Chalet itself. These walks can be anything from one hour to a full day, depending how much down time you want to spend by the warmth of the open fire in the chalet's restaurant.....sipping on fine wines and enjoying a hearty and delicious Italian inspired lunch.

Many people who make this trip stay in the village of Tende and make their way up the mountain by car.  It's easy; leave your car in one of the many car parking areas, throw those hiking boots on and head off.

if you are visiting the historically rich Tende, don't miss the Musée des Merveilles de Tende (Museum of Marvels), we did not get there unfortunately, however it does comes highly recommended.  It houses many of the rock engravings as well as other pre historic artefacts from the park, and will take you back in time to the copper and early bronze ages.

I can guarantee you that after a couple of days strolling in the crystal clear mountain air you will head on down to the coast with a renewed boost of energy, ready to elbow your way back onto those beaches!

Millie xx

Practical Information

Do wear good hiking boots (I managed with converse shoes but if it rains it can get slippery and rather precarious)

Closest airport to Tende is in Nice, France

To get to the Chamois d'or by Car from Nice - take the A8 towards Monaco, follow the signs to Ventimille to get to the E74 then follow the signs to the village of Saint Dalmas de Tende then to Castérino. 

Price of return ticket on the Train des Merveilles is 26 euros (one way 14 euros).

The chalet Chamois d'or is closer to the village of Saint Dalmas de Tende than to Tende.

Other activities available at Chamois d'or include;
Fishing, hiking, excursion & horse riding in the summer
Sleigh dogs, cross country skiing and snow shoes in the winter

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